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The American League batting title is now named for a Twins Hall of Famer

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Major League Baseball opened the All-Star Game festivities in San Diego Tuesday evening by announcing that the batting champions in each league this season will win awards named after a couple of Hall of Famers who won 15 of those titles between them.

Whoever finishes with the highest batting average in the American League will receive the Rod Carew Award, MLB says.

Carew played for the Twins from his Rookie of the Year season in 1967 through 1978, which is when he won the last of his seven American League batting titles.

The Panama native then played several years for the California Angels before wrapping up his Hall of Fame career.

MLB then thrilled the All-Star Game crowd in San Diego by announcing that the National League batting champ will receive the Tony Gwynn Award.

Gwynn played his entire career with the San Diego Padres, winning eight batting titles.

CBS says the roar from the crowd in response to Tuesday's announcement was deafening.

Gwynn died in 2014 of oral cancer that he attributed to chewing tobacco. American League starting pitcher Chris Sale said this week it was Gwynn's death that motivated him to give up chewing tobacco.

Carew was very nearly not around to appreciate Tuesday's news either. A few days before his 70th birthday last fall, he suffered a massive heart attack.

His recovery went well, though, and he was able to rejoin the Twins for spring training as a hitting instructor. Perhaps someone he coaches will eventually win a Rod Carew Award.

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